Bears

Week 1 Matchup Meter

Week 1 Matchup Meter

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com Contributor

Following are complete fantasy football rankings based on this week's matchups for all the major positions (QB, RB, WR, TE, K, team defense). They are based on a combined yardagescoring system (4 points for a passing touchdown, 6 points for a rushingreceiving touchdown, one point for every 25 passing yards, one point for every 10 rushingreceiving yards).

Quarterback

1. Aaron Rodgers, GB vs. SF  NOTE: You still start him, no questions asked.
2. Drew Brees, NO vs. WAS            
3. Cam Newton, CAR at TB  NOTE: How many rushing TDs will he keep?
4. Tom Brady, NE at TEN            
5. Matthew Stafford, DET vs. STL            
6. Michael Vick, PHI at CLE            
7. Eli Manning, NYG vs. DAL            
8. Robert Griffin III, WAS at NO  NOTE: Seems ready for immediate splash.             
9. Matt Ryan, ATL at KC  NOTE: It will be more fun in dome.     
10. Jay Cutler, CHI vs. IND            
11. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT at DEN  NOTE: By default, this offense will have to chuck it.
12. Tony Romo, DAL at NYG  NOTE: Major questions about supporting cast.
13. Philip Rivers, SD at OAK            
14. Peyton Manning, DEN vs. PIT  NOTE: Don't expect stardom right away.
15. Josh Freeman, TB vs. CAR            
16. Russell Wilson, SEA at ARI  NOTE: Buzz player from preseason.
17. Matt Schaub, HOU vs. MIA  NOTE: Solid, but never an elite guy.
18. Andrew Luck, IND at CHI  NOTE: Tough opener, but overall we like him.
19. Joe Flacco, BAL vs. CIN            
20. Carson Palmer, OAK vs. SD            
21. Alex Smith, SF at GB            
22. Jake Locker, TEN vs. NE            
23. Christian Ponder, MIN vs. JAX  NOTE: Look for step up in Year 2.
24. John Skelton, ARI vs. SEA  NOTE: He can't be worse than Kolb.
25. Matt Cassel, KC vs. ATL            
26. Andy Dalton, CIN at BAL            
27. Mark Sanchez, NYJ vs. BUF            
28. Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF at NYJ            
29. Brandon Weeden, CLE vs. PHI            
30. Blaine Gabbert, JAX at MIN            
31. Sam Bradford, STL at DET  NOTE: Good luck against mean-streak unit.     
32. Ryan Tannehill, MIA at HOU            
33. Tim Tebow, NYJ vs. BUF  NOTE: How many snaps? No one knows.

Running Back

1. Arian Foster, HOU vs. MIA            
2. Ray Rice, BAL vs. CIN            
3. LeSean McCoy, PHI at CLE            
4. Darren McFadden, OAK vs. SD  NOTE: When healthy, he's a world-beater.             
5. Matt Forte, CHI vs. IND  NOTE: Even without goal-line work, a very safe player.  
     

6. Chris Johnson, TEN vs. NE            
7. Steven Jackson, STL at DET            
8. Doug Martin, TB vs. CAR            
9. Jamaal Charles, KC vs. ATL            
10. Ronnie Brown, SD at OAK            
11. DeMarco Murray, DAL at NYG  NOTE: Will he thrive with goal-line work?     
12. Fred Jackson, BUF at NYJ  NOTE: Snappy camp builds trust.             
13. Toby Gerhart, MIN vs. JAX  NOTE: Quietly averaged 4.9 a pop last year.
14. DeAngelo Williams, CAR at TB            
15. Kevin Smith, DET vs. STL            
16. Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG vs. DAL  NOTE: Sooner or later, Wilson probably takes over.             
17. Darren Sproles, NO vs. WAS            
18. Reggie Bush, MIA at HOU            
19. Frank Gore, SF at GB            
20. Michael Turner, ATL at KC            
21. Donald Brown, IND at CHI            
22. Robert Turbin, SEA at ARI  NOTE: Significant upside if he's needed.     
23. Marshawn Lynch, SEA at ARI  NOTE: Back spasms, may not go.             
24. Rashad Jennings, JAX at MIN            
25. Willis McGahee, DEN vs. PIT            
26. Stevan Ridley, NE at TEN  NOTE: Looks like a featured back, but hard to tell this this team.
27. Shonn Greene, NYJ vs. BUF  NOTE: Solid floor, but no real upside.
28. Trent Richardson, CLE vs. PHI            
29. Cedric Benson, GB vs. SF            
30. Peyton Hillis, KC vs. ATL  NOTE: Thrived with this OC in Cleveland.             
31. Michael Bush, CHI vs. IND            
32. David Wilson, NYG vs. DAL  NOTE: Eventually, he's a star.             
33. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX at MIN  NOTE: Give him a get-back week.             
34. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CIN at BAL            
35. Adrian Peterson, MIN vs. JAX            
36. Ben Tate, HOU vs. MIA            
37. Isaac Redman, PIT at DEN            
38. Beanie Wells, ARI vs. SEA  NOTE: Works behind terrible offensive line, and Williams pushing too.
39. Mark Ingram, NO vs. WAS            
40. C.J. Spiller, BUF at NYJ            
41. Pierre Thomas, NO vs. WAS            
42. Ryan Williams, ARI vs. SEA            
43. Evan Royster, WAS at NO
44. Jonathan Dwyer, PIT at DEN            
45. Alfred Morris, WAS at NO  NOTE: Nice camp, but you know Shanahan.         
46. Keiland Williams, DET vs. STL            
47. Jonathan Stewart, CAR at TB            
48. Roy Helu, WAS at NO            
49. Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL at KC            
50. Montario Hardesty, CLE vs. PHI            
51. Kendall Hunter, SF at GB            
52. Felix Jones, DAL at NYG            
53. Isaiah Pead, STL at DET  NOTE: One of the more overrated backups.
54. Brandon Jackson, CLE vs. PHI            
55. Mike Tolbert, CAR at TB            
56. Vick Ballard, IND at CHI            
57. Bilal Powell, NYJ vs. BUF            
58. Bernard Scott, CIN at BAL            
59. LeGarrette Blount, TB vs. CAR            
60. Bernard Pierce, BAL vs. CIN            

Wide Receiver

1. Calvin Johnson, DET vs. STL            
2. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI vs. SEA            
3. Julio Jones, ATL at KC  NOTE: Okay, we're buying in, too.     
4. Andre Johnson, HOU vs. MIA            
5. A.J. Green, CIN at BAL            
6. Percy Harvin, MIN vs. JAX            
7. Victor Cruz, NYG vs. DAL            
8. Roddy White, ATL at KC            
9. Brandon Marshall, CHI vs. IND  NOTE: Yardage star but TDs often disappoint.         
10. Jordy Nelson, GB vs. SF            
11. Steve Smith, CAR at TB            
12. Hakeem Nicks, NYG vs. DAL            
13. Antonio Brown, PIT at DEN  NOTE: Look for 7-9 spikes this year.         
14. Torrey Smith, BAL vs. CIN            
15. Wes Welker, NE at TEN            
16. Marques Colston, NO vs. WAS            
17. Dez Bryant, DAL at NYG  NOTE: Hard to trust the Dallas wideouts.         
18. Greg Jennings, GB vs. SF            
19. Dwayne Bowe, KC vs. ATL            
20. Jeremy Maclin, PHI at CLE            
21. Eric Decker, DEN vs. PIT  NOTE: Look for him to be Manning's main man.     
22. Mike Wallace, PIT at DEN  NOTE: Still can run by people fairly easily.             
23. Vincent Jackson, TB vs. CAR            
24. Miles Austin, DAL at NYG            
25. Brandon Lloyd, NE at TEN            
26. Pierre Garcon, WAS at NO            
27. Reggie Wayne, IND at CHI            
28. Demaryius Thomas, DEN vs. PIT  NOTE: Raw route runner, might need development time.         
29. DeSean Jackson, PHI at CLE            
30. Malcom Floyd, SD at OAK            
31. Nate Washington, TEN vs. NE            
32. Michael Crabtree, SF at GB            
33. Justin Blackmon, JAX at MIN  NOTE: Looks ready to produce right away.
34. Robert Meachem, SD at OAK            
35. Steve Johnson, BUF at NYJ            
36. Santonio Holmes, NYJ vs. BUF            
37. Greg Little, CLE vs. PHI            
38. Darrius Heyward-Bey, OAK vs. SD            
39. Anquan Boldin, BAL vs. CIN            
40. Sidney Rice, SEA at ARI  NOTE: A stud when he's healthy.
41. Titus Young, DET vs. STL  NOTE: All the signs of a breakout pick.
42. Lance Moore, NO vs. WAS            
43. Kendall Wright, TEN vs. NE            
44. Mike Williams, TB vs. CAR            
45. Brandon LaFell, CAR at TB            
46. Davone Bess, MIA at HOU            
47. Denarius Moore, OAK vs. SD  NOTE: Injury-prone camp, find someone else.
48. Austin Collie, IND at CHI            
49. Danny Amendola, STL at DET            
50. Andre Roberts, ARI vs. SEA            
51. Steve Breaston, KC vs. ATL            
52. Rod Streater, OAK vs. SD  NOTE: Nifty camp, could be sneaky PPR play.
53. Devery Henderson, NO vs. WAS            
54. Randy Moss, SF at GB  NOTE: Don't see much left in camp.
55. Laurent Robinson, JAX at MIN            
56. Steve Smith, STL at DET            
57. Stephen Hill, NYJ vs. BUF  NOTE: Size and speed combo, decent camp.
58. Santana Moss, WAS at NO            
59. Alshon Jeffery, CHI vs. IND            
60. Early Doucet, ARI vs. SEA            
61. James Jones, GB vs. SF  NOTE: Ordinary talent but he'll catch a few TDs anyway.
62. Doug Baldwin, SEA at ARI            
63. Josh Gordon, CLE vs. PHI            
64. Mario Manningham, SF at GB            
65. David Nelson, BUF at NYJ            

Tight End

1. Jimmy Graham, NO vs. WAS            
2. Rob Gronkowski, NE at TEN            
3. Antonio Gates, SD at OAK  NOTE: Big camp, but can feet hold up?
4. Vernon Davis, SF at GB  NOTE: Finally has offense down, look for big year.
5. Aaron Hernandez, NE at TEN            
6. Fred Davis, WAS at NO            
7. Jermichael Finley, GB vs. SF            
8. Brandon Pettigrew, DET vs. STL            
9. Tony Gonzalez, ATL at KC  NOTE: May we all age so gracefully.         
10. Jared Cook, TEN vs. NE            
11. Kyle Rudolph, MIN vs. JAX  NOTE: Growing up nicely, with Ponder.
12. Jermaine Gresham, CIN at BAL            
13. Greg Olsen, CAR at TB            
14. Dustin Keller, NYJ vs. BUF            
15. Brent Celek, PHI at CLE            
16. Owen Daniels, HOU vs. MIA            
17. Jacob Tamme, DEN vs. PIT  NOTE: Might not be on the field in goal-line packages.
18. Coby Fleener, IND at CHI            
19. Jason Witten, DAL at NYG            
20. Heath Miller, PIT at DEN            
21. Marcedes Lewis, JAX at MIN            
22. Lance Kendricks, STL at DET            
23. Dallas Clark, TB vs. CAR            
24. Scott Chandler, BUF at NYJ            
25. Martellus Bennett, NYG vs. DAL            
26. Kellen Davis, CHI vs. IND  NOTE: Cutler likes to throw inside the numbers; sleeper potential here.
27. Ed Dickson, BAL vs. CIN            
28. Dwayne Allen, IND at CHI            
29. Tony Moeaki, KC vs. ATL            
30. Anthony Fasano, MIA at HOU            
31. Ben Watson, CLE vs. PHI            
32. Zach Miller, SEA at ARI            
33. Tony Scheffler, DET vs. STL            

Kicker
           
1. Jason Hanson, DET vs. STL  NOTE: Indoors in a likely blowout.
2. Garrett Hartley, NO vs. WAS            
3. Robbie Gould, CHI vs. IND            
4. Stephen Gostkowski, NE at TEN            
5. Shayne Graham, HOU vs. MIA  NOTE: Perfect setup for a kicker.
6. Mason Crosby, GB vs. SF            
7. Lawrence Tynes, NYG vs. DAL            
8. Justin Tucker, BAL vs. CIN  NOTE: Pushed Cundiff out of town.
9. Sebastian Janikowski, OAK vs. SD            
10. Alex Henery, PHI at CLE            
11. David Akers, SF at GB            
12. Nate Kaeding, SD at OAK            
13. Justin Medlock, CAR at TB            
14. Matt Prater, DEN vs. PIT  NOTE: Long leg, thin air, nice seasonal play.
15. Matt Bryant, ATL at KC  NOTE: Come back to him in the dome.
16. Shaun Suisham, PIT at DEN            
16. Steve Hauschka, SEA at ARI            
18. Connor Barth, TB vs. CAR            
19. Nick Folk, NYJ vs. BUF            
20. Ryan Succop, KC vs. ATL            
21. Rob Bironas, TEN vs. NE            
22. Rian Lindell, BUF at NYJ            
23. Dan Bailey, DAL at NYG  NOTE: Hard to trust this offense right now.
24. Billy Cundiff, WAS at NO            
25. Jay Feely, ARI vs. SEA            
26. Blair Walsh, MIN vs. JAX            
27. Phil Dawson, CLE vs. PHI            
28. Adam Vinatieri, IND at CHI            
29. Josh Scobee, JAX at MIN            
30. Mike Nugent, CIN at BAL            
31. Greg Zuerlein, STL at DET  NOTE: Distance monster, but will Rams support him?           
32. Dan Carpenter, MIA at HOU             
                    
Defense

1. Detroit vs. St. Louis  NOTE: Pick on Bradford until proven otherwise.        
2. Houston vs. Miami       
3. Chicago vs. Indianapolis       
4. Seattle at Arizona  NOTE: Nasty unit, but more so in Seattle.        
5. Philadelphia at Cleveland       
6. Minnesota vs. Jacksonville  NOTE: Strong pass rush, dome advantage, inexperienced Gabbert.        
7. New York Giants vs. Dallas       
8. New York Jets vs. Buffalo       
9. Green Bay vs. San Francisco       
10. Atlanta at Kansas City       
11. San Francisco at Green Bay  NOTE: Elite defense but have to downgrade here.
12. Denver vs. Pittsburgh       
13. Buffalo at New York Jets       
14. New England at Tennessee  NOTE: Like Belichick against a young QB.        
15. San Diego at Oakland       
16. Carolina at Tampa Bay       
17. Pittsburgh at Denver       
18. Baltimore vs. Cincinnati       
19. Cincinnati at Baltimore       
20. New Orleans vs. Washington       
21. Oakland vs. San Diego       
22. Dallas at New York Giants  NOTE: Pass rush can cause havoc, but like NYG here.
23. Arizona vs. Seattle       
24. Jacksonville at Minnesota       
25. Cleveland vs. Philadelphia  NOTE: This unit is much better than many realize; possible sleeper later.
26. Tampa Bay vs. Carolina       
26. Kansas City vs. Atlanta       
28. St. Louis at Detroit       
29. Indianapolis at Chicago       
30. Tennessee vs. New England       
31. Miami at Houston       
32. Washington at New Orleans

Bears coaching upheavals portend inevitable stumbles

Bears coaching upheavals portend inevitable stumbles

Call it a small Bears reality check, if not a full wake-up call, then at least a nudge in the night. And this sort of thing should be expected, not just in OTAs, not just in training camp or preseason, but when it all counts.

And it should serve as a lesson of sorts. Because some of the underlying reasons are worth a little highlighting and patient understanding around a team that has spent its offseason and millions of dollars refashioning an offense, beginning with coach Matt Nagy and coordinator Mark Helfrich, and that offense wasn’t particularly good on Wednesday.

In a sport where the operative cliché is “just get better each and every day,” the Bears didn’t, but as far as their coach is concerned, “there’s two ways to look at it,” Nagy said. “Whether you say on our side, on offense, trying to see a bunch of different looks a defense can give you, is it too much or not? It’s good for us. It’ll help us out in the long run. It’s good for our players and they’ve handled it well. There’s going to be mistakes but they have it on tape to be able to look at. “

This is about more than just a few bad reps or missed assignments. It’s part of the good-news-bad-news reality that a sea change brings to a team.

The good news is that the Bears have a new coaching staff on offense.

The bad news is that the Bears have a new coaching staff on offense.

The Bears defense is predictably ahead of the offense, hardly a surprise, given that most of the core of the top-10 unit has remained in place. That said, you do have to like the attitude of the barely-above-rookie No. 1 quarterback challenging that assessment Wednesday, with a “Who says that?”

This while the offense has myriad moving and new parts, and interceptions, blown plays and such were occurring for an offense that, like Halas Hall, is a massive building work in progress.

“Well, today was a bad ‘build,’ but that’s to be expected,” Helfrich acknowledged. “We’re adding a chunk each day, I thought today was the first day where we had somebody do something that just like, ‘wait, OK’ – a few positions here and there, a few new guys, obviously a few veterans here and there that it’s all new to, hit the wall.”

It’s a “wall” that arguably is inevitable with a coaching change.

Not to make excuses, but….

For a sense of perspective, scroll back to Jay Cutler, who went through offensive coordinators perhaps faster than he went through socks: a year with Ron Turner, two with Mike Martz, one with Mike Tice, two with Aaron Kromer, one with Adam Gase, one with Dowell Loggains, who at least was a holdover from the Gase year. (Whether Cutler’s failure to match potential with production was the cause of or because of that turnover, this humble and faithful narrator leaves to you, the reader).

More than a few current Bears can only dream of that kind of “stability.” And because of that, the 2018 pre- and regular seasons may be bumpier than the optimism surrounding the Nagy hire was anticipating.

Guard Kyle Long, still not practicing full-go while he rehabs from surgeries, is on his fifth offensive-line coach in six NFL seasons. Center Cody Whitehair, who has started every game since the Bears drafted him in the 2016 second round, has had three different line coaches in as many seasons: Dave Magazu for 2016, Jeremiah Washburn for 2017 and now Harry Hiestand. Left tackle Charles Leno was drafted in 2014, making Hiestand Leno’s fourth O-line coach.

And this is the offensive line, the unit that most engenders use of the term “continuity.”

“Each coach brings in a little bit, different techniques,” Whitehair said. “There’s a lot of time for us to hone in and get to know what he’s trying to teach us. But in the end it’s still football.”

Kevin White is entering his fourth NFL season. He is on his fourth receivers coach (Mike Groh, Curtis Johnson, Zach Azzanni, Mike Furrey) and third different season-starting quarterback (Jay Cutler, Mike Glennon, Mitch Trubisky), not including offseason battery mates ranging from Jimmy Clausen, Brian Hoyer, David Fales and Connor Shaw, depending on how much rep time he spent with which unit at various times during his training camps.

“It doesn’t matter,” White said. “Roll with the punches, come here and do my job every day.”

Regardless of how many bosses you’ve reported to.

White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will reportedly be suspended 80 games for use of PED

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USA TODAY

White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will reportedly be suspended 80 games for use of PED

For the first time since new rules came into effect in 2005, the White Sox will reportedly see a major league player suspended for violating baseball’s ban on performance-enhancing drugs.

Welington Castillo, the team’s biggest offseason addition, will be suspended for 80 games, according to a pair of reports.

The veteran catcher was brought in over the winter to help the rebuilding White Sox in the short and long term. He had a career year offensively and defensively in 2017, and he was acquired to help develop a young pitching staff featuring big pieces of the future like Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, and also to swing a solid bat and help this young team learn how to win.

If Castillo proves productive over the course of his two-year deal, the White Sox have a team option that could keep Castillo on the South Side for the 2020 season. That could make him a piece of the puzzle for when the rebuild reaches its apex and the team is ready to start contending for championships. But this news has the potential to change that dramatically.

Zack Collins and Seby Zavala are both having strong offensive seasons at Double-A Birmingham and figure to be the long-term answers behind the plate. But Castillo’s absence from any long-term picture could leave the White Sox without a veteran safety net in the years ahead, depending on how the team decides to react to this news in the coming seasons.

Castillo’s absence for the next 80 games could also have an impact on the development of aforementioned pitchers like Giolito and Lopez. Lopez, in particular, has been throwing really well this season, and Giolito has control issues to work through, as he leads the American League in walks. Without the veteran catcher brought in to help those guys transition to the major league level, how will the transition continue for those two pitchers?

As for who could take Castillo's place on the major league roster, the options are limited. Kevan Smith, who was edged out by Omar Narvaez for the backup-catching job in spring training, is on the disabled list at Triple-A Charlotte, placed there Tuesday. The aforementioned Zavala is also injured at Double-A Birmingham, and it seems far too early to rush Collins to the big leagues. Alfredo Gonzalez is a catcher on the roster at Charlotte. A spot on the 40-man roster would need to be freed up to bring him to Chicago.